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Hotter heat waves are wiping out bumblebees, study finds –



Many bumblebee species have vanished from places where they were once common. Now a new Canadian-led study finds that hotter temperatures during heat waves are to blame, and uses it to predict which bumblebees are most likely to face local extinction as the climate warms.

The researchers say the technique that could also be used to make predictions for other species at risk from climate change.

In recent years (between 2000 and 2014), your chance of seeing a bumblebee at a given location declined by nearly half (46 per cent) in North America compared to in the 20th century (between 1901 and 1974), reports the study by researchers at the University of Ottawa and University College London.

In Europe, the decline was 18 per cent, according to the study, which was published Thursday in Science.

“These are really severe declines,” said Peter Soroye, a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa and the study’s lead author.

Peter Soroye, a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa, is the lead author of the new study, which found that heat waves are linked to the huge decline in the bumblebee population across North America and Europe in recent decades. (University of Ottawa)

And that’s not just bad news for bumblebees — they’re crucial for pollinating agricultural crops from squash to berries to tomatoes, along with other flowers and plants that add colour to world, Soroye said.

“They’re probably among the best pollinators we have… they’re also really beautiful little animals,” he said. “We’d be missing a lot if they were to decline more than they have already.”

Not keeping up with climate change

Soroye’s supervisor, University of Ottawa biology Prof. Jeremy Kerr, led a previous study showing that bumblebee species have been squeezed out of warmer parts of their habitats by climate change since 1975.

On average, the 67 bumblebee species they studied were locally extinct in the southern 300 kilometres of their ranges by 2010.

“They’re not able to keep up with these changes in temperature,” said Soroye, whose followup study with Kerr echoes those results.

The fact that they were disappearing from the south pointed to climate change as a factor. But the researchers wanted to know exactly what aspect of climate change was to blame — changes in temperature, precipitation, or both?

In order to do that, they turned to a database of 550,000 bumblebee sightings from 66 species in North America and Europe between 1900 and 2015 from museum and research collections, along with sightings from citizen scientists

The new study found that bee declines were specifically linked to hotter maximum temperatures, Soroye said. 

“It’s kind of these extremes of climate throughout the year that climate change is causing.”

Bombus ternarius, commonly known as the orange-belted bumblebee, is shown on flower on Manitoulin Island, Ont. By looking at climate data and the historical range of different bumblebees, the researchers were able to predict their risk of local extinction in some parts of their range. (Peter Soroye)

While that link was clear, he also noted that bees face a lot of other challenges, such as habitat loss and pesticide use. The researchers weren’t able to determine specifically how much of the bees’ decline was due to climate change.

Nor did they know exactly how extreme heat causes bee declines. It may either cause the bees’ death direct, or it could impact the plants and flowers they rely on for food.

By looking at the highest monthly maximum temperatures at different locations over time and comparing them to bees’ historical ranges, however, the researchers could identify the temperature limits that each species could withstand, and take things a step further.

“We found we were able to predict [local] extinctions in bumblebees really well,” Soroye said.

He suggested the technique could also be used to predict where climate change will put other species at risk, including birds, mammals and reptiles.

What you can do for bees

While most bumblebees appeared not able to move into cooler areas to adapt to climate change, and few seemed to thrive in warmer temperatures, there were some exceptions.

Soroye said he and his colleagues hope to figure out why and use that information to hopefully reduce or reverse declines in other species.

In the meantime, the findings also suggests ways anyone can help bees — by providing “little refuges” from extreme temperatures in the form of fallen logs, leaf litter and plants of different heights in their gardens, Soroye said.

A bumblebee lands on a flower on Vancouver Island, B.C. Researchers say the public can help bees by providing refuges for them that include flowers that bloom at different times of year and shade where they can take shelter when it’s very hot. (Peter Soroye)

Victoria MacPhail, a PhD candidate at York University, led a 2019 study that found that by 2016, one bumblebee species, the American bumblebee, had disappeared from 70 per cent of its range and lost 89 per cent of its population compared to the period between 1907 and 2006. That suggests it has become critically endangered.

MacPhail, who was not involved in Soroye’s study, said this latest research reinforces what she and other bumblebee researchers have also found.

“The majority of our bumblebee species will drastically decline in population size and range, and some may even become extinct,” she said.

The idea that those declines are linked specifically to extreme heat adds a new piece of the puzzle, she said.

“The question is how we can help.”

MacPhail thinks the results will help identify areas to prioritize for bumblebee conservation, such as places where multiple species live or the edges of species’ ranges, where they’re under the most stress.

She agrees that what the bees need most is somewhere they can find refuge to withstand hotter temperatures, and that people can help by restoring and managing bee habitat. That may include making sure they have flowering plants to feed on from spring through fall that places where they nest or spend the winter are protected.

But MacPhail thinks efforts need to go beyond bee conservation too.

“We need to take these findings seriously and increase our actions to keep global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels,” she said.

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Korea realises its ambitions and already travels to meet the moon – Atalayar



The Republic of Korea has been keen to demonstrate that it is in fact Asia’s fourth-largest space power and ranks just behind China, Japan and India in terms of space ambitions and development. 

With the launch of its first moon-bound probe, it has made it clear that although it is considered to be the world’s tenth largest economy, it is one of the seven nations globally with the greatest interest in outer space. The South Korean scientific spacecraft is called Danuri, which in English means “enjoy the moon”, weighs 678 kilos, is cube-shaped, measures 3.18 x 6.3 x 2.67 metres and, according to the Seoul government, cost 182 million dollars. 

PHOTO/KARI – The Danuri lunar probe carries six scientific instruments, weighs 678 kilos, is cube-shaped, measures 3.18 x 6.3 x 2.67 metres and has required an investment of 182 million dollars

In a way, Korea has followed in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, which relied on Japan and its H-IIA rocket to send its first interplanetary probe, the Al Amal Mars spacecraft, to Mars. In the Korean case, it has chosen its great ally, the United States, and Danuri’s liftoff took place late on 4 August from the Cape Canaveral launch complex in Florida. A Falcon 9 vector from US tycoon Elon Musk’s SpaceX company was responsible for launching it en route.

The spacecraft took off on the same day that US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi arrived in Seoul to support the Asian country in maintaining a strong deterrent against North Korea and seeking its denuclearisation. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office on 10 May, had the opportunity to speak to Pelusi by phone, thanking him for his gesture and explaining that Danuri will serve “to boost Korea’s space economy and scientific expertise”. 

If the probe succeeds in reaching lunar orbit, the Republic of Korea will become the seventh nation to explore the Moon in situ, as Russia, the United States, China, India, the European Space Agency and Japan have already done. But the South Korean mission is not an isolated initiative. “The first step of our national space exploration programme is the moon,” says Science Minister Lee Jong-ho. 

PHOTO/AP – The launch of the South Korean spacecraft into space from Florida coincided in date (4 August) with a quick visit to Seoul by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi

Hyundai and Kia to be on the moon in 2031

The president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Professor Lee Sang-ryool, has confirmed that “there are technologies we need to improve, but we can travel and land on the moon with our own capabilities”. Seoul aims to launch a lunar surface module together with a small rover by 2031.

And they are already working on it. On 27 July, the car manufacturers Hyundai and Kia signed an agreement with six Korean research institutes to develop robotic technologies to equip the country’s future space rover. The project is joined by Korea’s extensive space business network, which manufactures satellites and even the KSLV-II Nuri launcher, which successfully completed its second successful flight into space from the Naro space centre in southern Korea on 21 October

PHOTO/KARI – The KARI lunar exploration programme envisages the probe now launched, to be followed by a lander with a rover to investigate the soil of our natural satellite by 2030

Regarding the Danuri probe – also known as the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter or KPLO – the Korean Ministry of Science and Telecommunications has already verified its proper operational status in orbit and confirmed that “the solar panels are generating sufficient power and all on-board devices are working properly”. 

It is being monitored throughout the mission by NASA’s three Deep Space Network communications stations: the US station at Goldstone, California; the Australian station near Canberra; and the Spanish station located in the municipality of Robledo de Chavela, near Madrid. Korea also maintains partial contact with the probe via the large satellite dish it has built in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province.

Danuri will reach its long-awaited goal by the end of the year and not in about six days, the time it took the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 to travel nearly 400,000 kilometres. The reason is that the South Korean spacecraft does not follow a direct trajectory, which consumes a lot of energy. Instead, it flies in the direction of the Sun. It follows a so-called “lunar ballistic transfer” trajectory with low energy and fuel consumption, until it reaches the so-called Lagrange Point 1 (L1), located 1.56 million kilometres from our Blue Planet, where the Sun’s attraction is balanced by the Earth’s attraction. There it will slow down and be re-routed towards the Moon. 

PHOTO/KARI – The probe is being tracked by NASA’s three Deep Space Network communications complexes (Goldstone, Canberra and Spain’s Robledo de Chávela) along with Korea’s Yeoju

135 days to reach lunar orbit

It is a similar path to that followed by the small American probe Capstone. Weighing 25 kilos and launched into orbit by NASA on 28 June from New Zealand, it is scheduled to reach the moon on 13 November, i.e. it will take 136 days to reach the moon.

If the Danuri mission goes according to the calculations of the KARI engineers, the probe will be captured by the Moon on 16 December after 135 days, i.e. four and a half months after the start of its flight. On 31 December, it will be placed in a circular orbit at an altitude of a hundred kilometres above the lunar surface. Once it has stabilised and the six scientific instruments on board have been checked, the spacecraft will begin observing and collecting data in early January. 

PHOTO/KARI –  Danuri does not follow a direct trajectory. It flies on a low-energy, low-fuel-consumption lunar ballistic transfer flight on its way to LaGrange Point 1 (L1), where it will be re-routed to the Moon

One of the instruments has been provided by NASA. It is the ShadowCam camera, an evolution of the one on board the US Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter probe, launched on 18 June 2009, but about 200 times more sensitive. Its task is to map with a resolution of up to 1.7 metres per pixel the ground of the lunar regions at both poles that are always in shadow. The ShadowCam is intended to locate water ice deposits and other resources to help plan future manned missions and build sustainable bases.

ShadowCam and communications are not NASA’s only contribution. The Agency is providing technical assistance, navigation technologies and, in collaboration with the Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, a kind of interplanetary Internet to prevent disruption of transmissions to Earth. 

PHOTO/KARI – The president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Professor Lee Sang-ryool, says Korea needs to improve its space technologies, but can travel to and land on the moon with its own capabilities

The other four instruments are a magnetometer (KMAG) to track the magnetic field between the Earth and the Moon; a gamma-ray spectrometer (KGRS) to search for spontaneous gamma-ray bursts produced by massive dying stars; a wide-angle polarimetric camera (PolCam) to analyse the properties of grains deposited on the lunar surface. For the descent mission planned for 2031, it incorporates a high-resolution camera (LUTI), which will provide images for KARI technicians to determine the most suitable landing sites.

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Scientist's photo of 'distant star' was actually a slice of chorizo – USA TODAY



A French scientist apologized after tweeting a photo of a slice of chorizo that he claimed was a deep-space image of a “distant star” snapped by the James Webb Space Telescope.

Étienne Klein, a physicist and research director at France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, shared the spicy Spanish sausage shot on social media last week, applauding the “level of detail” it provided.

“Picture of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years away from us. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. This level of detail … A new world is unveiled everyday,” he posted on Twitter Sunday to more than 91,000 followers.

The first images from the $10 billion telescope – launched Dec. 25, 2021 – went viral throughout July when they were released to the public. The scientific marvel, a joint project involving NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, has traveled 1 million miles through space.

A few days after his post, Klein revealed the photo he tweeted was not from the world’s most powerful space telescope. He admitted he tweeted a slice of the reddish, speckled meat.

“When it’s time for the aperitif, cognitive biases seem to have a field day … beware, then, of them,” he played off in further tweets. “According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.”

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“I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of amusement. Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images,” he wrote, as translated by Google.

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

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Top Scientist Admits Webb Telescope Star Photo Was Actually Chorizo – PetaPixel



A prominent French physicist is apologizing after admitting that a viral “distant star” photo he shared on Twitter was not actually captured by the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) but was rather just a slice of chorizo pork sausage.

On July 31st, Etienne Klein, research director of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, tweeted the photo to his 90,000+ followers on Twitter and claimed that it was a new Webb telescope photo showing the closest star to our Sun.

“Picture of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years away from us,” Klein wrote in the Tweet (as translated by Google). “It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. This level of detail… A new world is unveiled day after day.”

A screenshot of Etienne Klein’s Tweet.

The tweet went viral and was retweeted thousands of times as people marveled at the imaging power of the Webb telescope, which has been wowing the world with never-before-possible space photos, including shots of the oldest galaxies ever observed.

In follow-up tweets, Klein revealed that what he had Tweeted was just a slice of Spanish sausage.

“Well, when it’s cocktail hour, cognitive bias seem to find plenty to enjoy… Beware of it,” Klein writes. “According to contemporary cosmology, no object related to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere else other than on Earth.

“In view of some comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of amusement. Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images…”

After receiving angry backlash to his tweet, however, the scientist apologized a few days later for spreading “fake news” that confused quite a number of people, stating that it was just a joke that was intended to warn his followers to be cautious about photos seen online.

“I come to present my apologies to those whom my hoax, which had nothing original about it, may have shocked,” he writes. “I simply wanted to urge caution with images that seem eloquent on their own. A scientist’s joke.”

Prominent French physicist Etienne Klein. Photo by Thesupermat and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Klein also tweeted Webb’s recent gorgeous photo of the Cartwheel Galaxy, assuring his followers that the photo was “real this time.”

“This is the first time I’ve made a joke when I’m more on this network as a figure of scientific authority,” the physicist later told the Paris-based news magazine Le Point. “The good news is that some immediately understood the deception, but it also took two tweets to clarify, ”explains the researcher.

“It also illustrates the fact that on this type of social network, fake news is always more successful than real news. I also think that if I hadn’t said it was a James-Webb photo, it wouldn’t have been so successful.”

The James Webb Space Telescope launched in December 2021 and officially began making scientific observations on July 12th, 2022. Now the largest optical telescope in space, it is using its unprecedented imaging capabilities to capture pioneering astronomical and cosmological images, including shots of atmospheres of exoplanets as well as the first stars and galaxies created at the beginning of the universe.

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